STC Annual Conference

Subject: STC Annual Conference
From: "George F. Hayhoe" <george -at- GHAYHOE -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 5 May 1999 11:32:59 -0400

Fabien Vais asked a lot of really good questions about STC
Annual Conferences. Here are my thoughts; YMMV.

The biggest problem with an STC Annual Conference is also
one of its great strengths: Be prepared to encounter lots of
people in a large conference venue. This year's conference
will draw more than 2500 folks. If you're the only person
from your chapter attending (or you don't currently belong
to STC) and tend to be introverted, you'll need to introduce
yourself to others at the conference. For us introverts,
that might take some conscious effort! (It's kind of like an
8th-grade dance: Although lots of people will be talking to
friends and acquaintances, you'll notice lots of others who
are there by themselves and would be delighted for you to
talk to them.)

Don't hesitate to chat with speakers, folks active in STC at
the Society level, and fellow TECHWR-Lers whom you see while
you're there. It's a great opportunity to share ideas with
them and get to know those whose names you've seen in
publications or here on the list.

I've never been to the Cincinnati Convention Center, but if
it's like most others, you should be prepared to walk the
equivalent of a few blocks from your hotel to sessions and
back several times a day, and to walk further between
sessions than is usual at conferences held in hotel meeting

But the advantage is that there are SO many people and SO
many sessions to choose from. (Be sure to have a couple of
sessions picked in advance for each time slot, since some
may be filled before you get there. And be aware that there
are changes between the preliminary and final programs.) You
will be amazed at the contacts you can make (a good supply
of business cards is a must)--and at the range of subject
matter you can learn about.

Stay at the conference headquarters hotel if you can, and go
to as many of the meal events as possible to socialize and
network between sessions and after hours. The free welcome
reception buffet Sunday night is usually a more than
adequate substitute for dinner, and the breakfast buffet
each day is also included in your registration. The three
networking lunches (served at the table, ordinarily) require
an additional fee, as does the Tuesday night honors
reception and banquet, but the costs are reasonable and the
food usually very good.

In the past, dress has usually been businesswear, though
there is a trend to business casual, especially at the
Sunday and Monday evening events. Lots of us in Anaheim last
year chose less formal attire on one or more days because of
the climate. My guess is that Cincinnati will be a bit
dressier. (It seems like the only time I wear a suit anymore
is at weddings, funerals, and STC events!) Be sure to wear
comfortable shoes.

As for evening events, there are the free welcome reception
on Sunday and free regional reception on Monday, and the
honors banquet (ticketed) on Tuesday. It shouldn't be
difficult to make plans for post-reception or post-banquet
socializing at those functions. Of course, there are lots of
other things to do in Cincinnati as well, and if you have a
particular interest (perhaps a baseball game or dinner at a
particular type of restaurant), you can see whether anyone
else shares it by posting a note on the message board.

Be prepared to learn a lot, to meet a lot of new and
interesting people, and to get a fresh perspective on our
profession. If you have special needs (diet or
disabilities), indicate them on your registration form or
contact the STC office at +1 (703) 522-4114 or
conference -at- stc-va -dot- org to alert them and ensure that your
needs can be accommodated.

Although I've attended lots of other conferences organized
by other professional and commercial organizations, nothing
makes me feel more a part of our vibrant profession than
STC's Annual Conference.

--George Hayhoe (george -at- ghayhoe -dot- com)

George Hayhoe Associates
Voice: +1 (803) 642-2156
Fax: +1 (803) 642-9325

APEX '98 Award for Publication Excellence

Awards of Distinguished Technical Communication
South Carolina/Carolina Foothills STC Chapters
1998-99 Technical Publications Competition

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